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Interview with Joseph Cheek of Lycoris 161

Glykoriza writes "Lots of talk lately about the future of Linux in the desktop. Red Hat wants to have a piece of the pie, while Lindows seems to do well too. Lycoris seems to do great as well, they released their latest beta a few days ago, and they have already made deals with retailers, like Fry's. OSNews hosts an interview with Lycoris' CTO and founder, Joseph Cheek."
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Interview with Joseph Cheek of Lycoris

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  • by ObviousGuy ( 578567 ) <> on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:20AM (#3777783) Homepage Journal
    Can they really do better than Dell, Gateway, or any other dedicated system builder who has attempted to provide Linux systems and given up?

    Wouldn't the DIY'er who is attracted to Linux more likely download Debian or buy RedHat or SuSE? What's the benefit?

    I guess we're just warming up for another "Desktop Linux is Dead" article 3 months from now when Fry's gives up on this silly venture.
  • by DanThe1Man ( 46872 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:21AM (#3777786)
    This is not a question to Joseph Cheek, but to the linux community reading /..

    It said in the article about Lindows:
    LindowsOS is based on a distribution of Linux, which is covered by a license that requires it to be made freely available for modification and redistribution. However, a system designer who used an unlicensed version of LindowsOS would not be able to use's logo or join the LindowsOS Certification program, and would receive no technical support.

    So, where can I download a free Lindows ISO without the logo?
  • by Antity ( 214405 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:22AM (#3777787) Homepage

    From the interview:

    7. Where do you see Lycoris in one year from now? What are the plans for the company itself?

    Joseph Cheek: We'll be bigger, stronger, and come with extra whitening power. Seriously, we just plan to grow and grow.

    People saying things like this obviously aren't experiencing financial problems yet. ;-)

  • by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:26AM (#3777802) Homepage
    This reminds me so much of the period before Win3.0 came out. Lots of companies making valiant efforts to produce the 'best desktop'. IIRC, Microsoft beat them all largely because it produced VB and with it, a way for millions of amateur developers to make Windows applications.

    I remember using GEOS, a GUI that kicked Windows' ass mightily. I remember trying to find tools to build GEOS applications. Zilch.

    Today, Windows is totally out of reach of amateur developers. It is one of the most complex development environments imaginable. And Microsoft seems to be heading at full speed towards even more complexity with every new technology it brings out.

    This creates a wonderful opportunity. Instead of aiming for 'end users', Linux desktops should aim at amateur developers who want a free and simple workbench for writing the kinds of applications that made Windows 3.1 rule the world.
    Imagine a really simple programming environment for excellent web applications, running on a database that is as easy to use as Access, with as many widgets as you can dream of.

    This is the kind of thing that will start the revolution. Not cheaper Window-like boxes.
  • Funny claim... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gentix ( 559742 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:30AM (#3777819)
    The article claims that "Red Hat is warming to the use of the Linux operating system on desktop computers, a difficult market where customers are picky and Microsoft is the leader."

    Most customers aren't that picky, but just go along with the mainstream of users and do not understand the power of open source systems such as Linux. The majority just wants text processing software, solitaire, and some internet capabilities, and seem to think Microsoft software is user friendly and Linux software is complex as hell. If customers were in fact picky, Microsoft would have a very hard time competing with these open source software systems, since they provide more stability and speed at much lower cost. How's that for user-friendly? Easy of use is becoming less of an issue in later distributions of Linux and and you don't have these big-brother issues as with XP and the coming Palladium...

    No, customers being "picky" hasn't got much to do with it, but many customers are just ignorant.

    How user friendly is it to have to push "start" in order to shut down a computer anyway?
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:34AM (#3777833) Homepage
    Can they really do better than Dell, Gateway, or any other dedicated system builder who has attempted to provide Linux systems and given up?


    People can see the OS first, rather than just picking a drop-down off some web site. Besides, although I don't know about Gateway Dell buried their offering so deep it was almost impossible to find on the site. You had to go in via some special URL - if you just went through to order a laptop via the normal route, you wouldn't have ever seen Linux as an option.

    Also, as far as I remember, the Linux option was actually made more expensive on Dell machines than buying a Windows license.


  • by Chemicalscum ( 525689 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:52AM (#3777894) Journal
    Dell gave up Linux on the Desktop because of blackmail from the Redmond Beast. As was shown from the MS emails in the MS anti-trust case.

    Fry's as a small consumer electronic's chain may not be getting the sort of major discounts that that the Beast can threaten.

    Furthermore Walmart is about to start shipping online PC's preloaded with Mandrake. They don't get the major discounts that the big OEM's get but they might just get bought off by MS offering it to them. But then the anti-trust case may prevent that.

    Linux is kept from being sold preloaded on PC's by anti-competitive monoply action not because there is no demand.

    BTW I think we should call PC's with Linux loaded on them Personal Workstations to differentiate them from Windoze boxes and to indicate their superiority.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 27, 2002 @09:59AM (#3778633)
    --Linux is fun, I've been using it for several months now, but it sure isn't as raw newbie user friendly as either microsoft or mac OS. Example, a glaring one, out of the box ability to actually get on the internet and to actually have a functional firewall. I've been using the previous OS's for many years, actually RTFM, and still had a major tussle to make the dang boxen dial out on a simple PPP conection. Then I had the fun of becoming an instant security administrator. I still have the problem of the box losing the modem "awareness" I'll call it with a shutdown, have to delete the modem, then re-find it to get it to work on a new boot up. The two shipped "firewall configurators" I've used with redhat and mandrake were very difficult for a newb to use. Mandrake I was never able to get to actually work, I was NEVER able to get online with it, and redhat I had to reload OS several times, had to go to an outside GUI front end to configure the firewall. Catch 22, you need to actually BE on the internet to go accomplish these tasks. A lot of people have ONE computer. I am more patient and enjoy learning about the computer itself, but here's the "but" MOST people want to use the tool, not hand design the tool. Computers are tools. When I go to the hardware store, I don't want a "tool-kit to learn how to build a tool". I don't want to have to learn to dig raw iron ore and develop the blast furnace and learn to forge and harden just to have a set of socket wrenches.

    Same deal with "das kompooter". Linux is still making you do this. Most people do not want to do this. clue stick time. I don't mind myself, because I have several boxen and when I get frustrated I can reach one foot over to a mac and actually do something, and it's easy. That's worth a few bucks to me, and I have spent it in the past. Even windows isn't that hard to really use, I don't LIKE windows, but I can use it, and it's not that hard to find a firewall and use it. linux? Exxcuuse me, but firewalling is still a major issue.

    I built a nice tower for a friend, made it dual boot, two HDD's, windoze and linux. I eventually told him to stop using linux because I was tired of going over there trying to get it to dial out for him. He's not a geek but runs a rather large business, several locations, he makes the final decisons on "computers" for his company and employees, and I can guarantee he's not gonna go with linux any time soon. I did my best guys, but it ain't happening. He's owned computers himself for a long time, I think around 15 years, and honestly he couldn't figure out how to use linux to do even simple tasks. He'snot stoopid, is a multi millionaire, does 'complex" things every day or he wouldn't be a multi millionaire, runs PGP and allsorts of programs all the time, etc, etc and linux was a dead end stumper for him, and I wasn't able to help. He owns around 6 personal boxen himself, windows and macs. His company, I don't know, a lot though. Many employees, it's a retail chain, clerks, secretaries, bean counters, you name it. I wasn't able to help enough. When he couldn't make it work his comment was "this looks cool but it's crap" He popped the full price for his copy, and isn't about to throw any money away on it again. And I had to agree. Linux is NOT non sys admin or non coder friendly, not yet anyway. It LOOKS like it is from the GUI facade.

    Windows or mac you can at least get the CD, stick it in, they work, dial out. He popped the full price for the redhat install, I tried in vain to get any help from them including faxes-ignored. I spent hours and hours and hours in a vain web search for info that was easy enough to understand to use. I finally made it "work" but it was a serious pain in the ass, and the onlyreason I did is because I like to fool around with this stuff, but even I reached my "aggravation" level faster with linux than with any other OS I had ever used. You can't use up2date if your box won't dialout. You can't find out info if you can't get online, and the man ppages are written in code-lish that the average person is not going to be able to use because this problem requires this set of acronyms which means go to another entire set of man pages, which lead to another, yet another, about 5 or 6 levels in you've lost track of the original problem. See? Well, I made his box dial out three times (normal external modem, not a winmodem, so that isn't the issue), now it's quit, and frankly, I'm tired of fooling with it for him, and tired of reloading the OS. I just plain don't want to go into a code editor and try to tweak PAP and CHAP and whatnot. The box I am on now I can make work, but 99.99% of people out there will throw it away after one hour if it can't do this simple task, they could care less how many themes or desktop eye candy dealie widgets ship with a distro. The other major companies, again, windows and mac, got this down 15 years ago or so to make it work as advertised.

    This is real world testing here, take it for what it's worth.

    I ADMIT to being a n00b, but sheesh gosh and gomorrah, the average joe blow home consumer doesn't want 6,789 programs they don't even know what they do and 99% of them are betaware. I've been a pooter user since the 80's, but I'm NOT a coder. Not any raging desire either. I got actual work to do, if I wanted to be a professional coder guess I would have picked that career field, but I didn't. I got things to do, I will do *some* tweaking and learning, but I'm not going to spend hours every day doing this, NOR will this "most people" that the phrase "home desktop market" represents. It ain't happening, so stop wishing it will, because it won't. If this means 7/8ths of the distros out there have to be abandoned, I recommend you coder guys do this as soon as possible or your linux experiment is gonna continue to spring leaks and sink, at least on the home market. Yep, walmart shipping with some linux is cool, but after two weeks when they get brought back to the customer service deak with "it don't work" that experiment is gonna end, too.

    Linux works IF an ubergeek sets it up for you and can do the almost constant tweaking. Big hint to linux developers trying to make money-most home users aren't going to hire a 60$ an hour sys admin to keep their boxes running. You coders doing it for fun, well, thankyou, honestly, but don't expect the average joe to really use it either, until it's *not* betaware. Second big hint, the exterior sheet metal on a car and the price as in cheap does not make a good car. cheap is just that, yugos were cheap, but they broke a lot, total ownership experience was dismal, they lasted some time and phased out. Detroit used to ship iron that had gorgeous "skins" -you could get any flavor of what a car looked like you want-but when japanese cars started working better with three times the mileage-guess what? Pretty "skins and themes" lost out to functionality. First major problem on a linux box will mean-bye bye, most folks will switch back to what they had before. They aren't gonna see any benefit from saving a few dollars for something this hard to set up and use. The ease of set up is sorta misleading. yes, it will install just fine usually. After that it'smuch harder to use than the zealots here maintain. Most people aren't coders, if this is forgotten, it will never "take off" like you want it to. If "the community "wants to be taken seriously on the desktop, 3/4ths of the coding projects should cease and the coders switch to a lot more cooperation and standarization should take place with the coding. Have a few votes why don't you, what's to stop that? anarchy is a nice hobby, hint again, it has never workled in the real world, some sort of organized structure usually works with cooperation being the key. Linux has more branches to it then the amazon, and it's getting worse, not better. Much less egos, much more cooperation, insist on standarization to get functionality over form.

    Take this for what it's worth, I can think of a lot of people who have "tried" linux and won't even consider it now. I can think of hundreds of people who have "tried" microsoft and mac and will stick to it-even with it's flaws- because it works better for non geeks who don't want to spend their time learning to code.

    It's really that simple a problem, too.
  • by Veteran ( 203989 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @10:08AM (#3778730)
    I'll try to explain what it is that other people are seeing that causes them to have a different perspective than you have got.

    I have long heard the argument that the reason that owners get to keep the majority of the money in a company is that they are taking all of the risks - so that they get to keep the rewards.

    But what exactly is the risk that a business owner takes? The answer is: if things don't work out he will wind up as poor as his employees and have to go to work for somebody else. That is not a risk for an employee - that is an iron clad guarantee!

    The thousands of employees at Microsoft who did all of the actual work of creating the code are not together worth as much as Bill Gates. People who think that is OK - do so because they have greed and larceny in their hearts; they want to be able to steal from their employees the way that Gates and millions of others have stolen from theirs. When your highest morality is "I can get away with it" you will create a structure that lets you get away with it. Heaven forbid that you should treat your employees ethically.

    In a sense the people who write software know that their time is practically worthless - so some of us have decided to become software philanthropists and give our code away - we really have little to lose in doing so; the 'Bill Gates' of the world are going to replace us with hordes of cheap programmers from third world countries in any case.

    Mostly we give our code away because we love programming, and we want good software to always be available, but a small part of our motivation is malicious: in response to the way that we have been treated we want to say to the 'Bill Gates' of the world "You want to treat us like dirt? Fine, asshole, try competing with something that costs nothing."

    Do you now understand why we might find it objectionable to see business men trying to exploit programmers work by something like 'per seat licensing'?

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam